About Us

Enjoying the modern conveniences of life in a sustainable manner through technology, resourcefulness, and Zone 8a (North Texas) Gardening.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Custom Grow Bags/Boxes

After the disappointing results of my carrots, I decided that I would try to grow some in a grow bag. I searched for some that would be suitable and found that these bags cost about $15 each and they were plastic. Plastic isn't breathable and it could get rather hot in there. There are cheaper, breathable grow bags but they are $8 and only last about 1 year.

Since I am able to sew, I immediately wondered how much it would cost me to make my own grow bag. The fabric store had Burlap on sale that weekend, so I devised a design and a plan. I would make my own 18" x 18" square grow bags.

It would take 5 yards to make 6 bags of varying heights (some for potatoes, some for carrots, and some for things like lettuce). With the fabric on sale, this would cost me $13 with taxes. + $2 for heavy duty thread that was also 50% off. So $15 for 5 bags! I am already way ahead of retail. Plus my bags will last more than one season and be breathable.

Here is what I did:

First I cut one 6' long strip to be the side walls of the bag and I cut an 18" x 18" strip to be the base of the bag.

I sewed the two ends of the long strip together and then sewed this piece to the base.

Now I have a bag. However, since its burlap, it doesn't stand up on its own.
I tried a few things to get it to stand that I didn't like.
In the end, I decided to go ahead and use some left over cedar wood from our garage to make frames for the bags. Thus turning the bags into boxed. The cedar wood is basically cedar fence panels and cedar furring strips/shams. A 6' cedar panel costs just under $2 here and an 8' furring strip costs the same. I needed one of each per box.
Here's a box after (dh's) construction. He used a staple gun to staple the burlap to the box...could have done this a little neater.

In the end, the grow boxes cost $7 each. Since I already had the cedar fence panels in my garage, the box's true cost was $5. I expect the cedar boxes will last 5 or more seasons. I had a deserted raised bed garden made from cedar that lastest 5 years easily before I pulled it up and it was exposed to the elements all day everyday; these boxes won't be. I have no clue as to how long the burlap will last; my guess would be 3 years...based on seasonal use. This stuff is strong and very durable. So let's say that my $7 boxes will last 3 years = $2.34 per year. Better than $8 per year if I do say so myself.

1 comment: